DOI Scientists Work Criticized by Political Appointees

Silencing Science Tracker

DOI Scientists Work Criticized by Political Appointees

On March 7, 2018, the Washington Post reported that political appointees in the Department of the Interior (DOI) had expressed concern regarding a press release published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in relation to a study on the shrinking of thirty-nine glaciers in Montana. The press release, which was published in May 2017, stated:

“The warming climate has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966, some by as much as 85 percent.”

This statement was criticized by Doug Domenech, assistant secretary of insular areas at DOI, who described it as “a perfect example of [scientists] going outside their wheelhouse.” Scott Cameron, the principal deputy assistant secretary, responded that “[t]hey probably are relying on the percentages but the most basic point is we need to watch for inflammatory adverbs and adjectives in their press releases,” apparently referring to the use of “dramatically.”

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